Atlanta Falcons 2021 Fantasy Preview

Atlanta Falcons

2020 Record: 4-12

2021 Over/Under: o/u 7.5

2021 Divison Odds: +650

2021 Super Bowl Odds: +6600

As you prepare for the fantasy season, whether it be your home league, a big money squad or with us at Champions Round, we want you to be as prepared as possible heading into the season. And most of all we want to see you win! 

The Atlanta Falcons are an interesting team. They have a new coach in Arthur Smith but mostly return the same roster, outside of the loss of Julio Jones and Todd Gurley. They replace Jones with Kyle Pitts and Gurley with Mike Davis. The loss of Jones will certainly sting, but Smith should have a good game plan for what to do with this offense.

Matt Ryan clearly has some gas left in the tank, even though his arm has clearly taken a step backwards. The big winner in this offense should be Calvin Ridley, who should be a top 10 receiver in fantasy and has a chance to be the top guy at the position in 2021. Meanwhile, the rookie Pitts is the most hyped Tight End prospect maybe ever and it would shock no one to see him be a top 5 tight end in fantasy. 

The Falcons offense should be playing from behind plenty. The Atlanta defense is expected to be pretty poor, which is just fine with us fantasy fanatics. Get those garbage time points! 

Champions Round “JUICE” Projections

2021 Expected Record: 7-10

2021 Expected Points Per Game: 24.9

2021 Expected Points Allowed Per Game: 27.8

QB

Matt Ryan - Rank: QB16

JUICE Projections: 432-654 Passing, 66% Completion, 4534 Passing Yds., 27 TD, 12 INT; 84 Rushing Yds, 2 Rush TD

Ryan, 36, lost a little zip on his fastball in 2020, is entering a new offense and lost a Hall of Fame receiver in Jones. One would think this would lead to a big step back in 2021. However, there are reasons for optimism. Ridley is a true No. 1 receiver and Ryan clearly trusts him. He also gets what should be an improved offense under Arthur Smith and has a new shiny toy in Pitts. Moreover, he plays behind a very good offensive line and Mike Davis should be an upgrade from Todd Gurley. In superflex leagues you could do worse than having Ryan as your QB2. 

RB

Mike Davis - Rank: RB14

JUICE Projections: 225 carries, 923 Rushing Yds, 10 Rush TD; 50 receptions, 283 Receiving Yds, 3 Rec. TD

Davis had a wonderful year for the Panthers as the replacement for Christian McCaffrey. Can he prove to be an every down workhorse in this Falcons offense? I don’t see why not. He’s not going to play the Derrick Henry role, but he’s definitely going to get a lot of touches in 2021. I expect him to see more volume than most would think. Davis is a high RB2 with the potential to finish as a top 12 back this season. 

Qadree Ollison - Rank: RB78

JUICE Projections: 81 carries, 328 Rushing Yds, 1 Rush TD; 6 receptions, 31 Receiving Yds

Tony Brooks-James - Rank: RB79

JUICE Projections: 56 carries, 227 Rushing Yds, 2 Rush TD; 9 receptions, 46 Receiving Yds

Ollison and Brooks-James should both see a decent amount of action behind Davis, but they’re mostly irrelevant in redrafts leagues. Sure, one of them could break out if Davis goes down. But which one? I would bet on Ollison, but that’s not a given. The Falcons also have rookie Javian Hawkins who could end up getting more volume than both Ollison and Brooks-James.

WR

Calvin Ridley - Rank: WR9

JUICE Projections: 93 receptions, 1216 Receiving Yds, 9 Rec. TD

Wide Receiver 1. Like, the top receiver in the NFL. That is Ridley’s upside in 2021. Ridley was one of the best receivers in fantasy football last season and will be the focal point of Atlanta’s passing game in an offense that lost Julio Jones. Hello, targets! The former Alabama receiver is a lock to be a WR1 if healthy. Draft him!

Russell Gage - Rank: WR35

JUICE Projections: 73 receptions, 823 Receiving Yds, 5 Rec. TD

Why aren’t people into the Gage stock? He’s a big buy for me in all fantasy leagues. Why? Because he was wildly productive last season, even with Julio in the lineup. Now he’s has a bigger role with more volume. I think there’s a good chance Gage ends up as a top 20 fantasy wide receiver.

Olamide Zaccheaus - Rank: WR80

JUICE Projections: 46 receptions, 503 Receiving Yds, 2 Rec. TD

Zaccheaus had moments in 2020 and would be a high priority add should Ridley or Gage miss time. In best ball leagues he could be a great add in the last couple of rounds of deeper leagues.

TE

Kyle Pitts - Rank: TE5

JUICE Projections: 72 receptions, 789 Receiving Yds, 8 Rec. TD

Simply the best tight end prospect to come to the NFL in over a decade and maybe ever. Throw in the fact that he’s in an offense that highlights the receiving abilities of its tight ends and the amount of volume he could see. Honestly it wouldn’t shock me one bit if Pitts finished the season as TE2 and outscores the likes of TJ Hockenson and George Kittle. Tight End is traditionally a position that sees players break out in Year 3, but Pitts is just special. He’s more of a wide receiver. His closest comparison would be a mix of Mike Evans and Darren Waller. Like we said, SPECIAL!

Hayden Hurst - Rank: TE38

JUICE Projections: 28 receptions, 300 Receiving Yds, 2 Rec. TD

Hurst should see a decent amount of volume in this offense, even with Pitts, Ridley and Gage. Hurst had a decent first season in Atlanta, but I would hardly call it a break out. If Pitts misses time, Hurst has top 15 TE upside. In best ball leagues, a Pitts-Hurst combo wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

TL;DR 2021 Atlanta Falcons

  • Russell Gage should have a big year as the No. 2 receiver in Atlanta
  • Kyle Pitts should have the best season ever by a rookie tight end
  • Calvin Ridley to the moon!
  • The Falcons defense should be terrible, so look for a lot of garbage time fantasy points from Atlanta!

Thanks for reading and good luck in your drafts! Next Up: Buffalo Bills!